Rhetoric of Poetry
124 | CCN: 77905
Margins of Poetry
Instructor: Benjamin Lempert
Date / Time: MWF 10-11A, 156 DWINELLE
This course will attempt to assess a number of works that might be said to operate on the margins of what we call “poetry” – things that are part poetry and part something else, or things that are called poetry but don’t always look like poetry. Some of these – like Jean Toomer’s Cane – mix poetry with prose; some – like Maggie Nelson’s Bluets – are poetic essays; and some – like Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee – are genres of their own.
Our goal will be to think about what we mean when we use the word “poetry,” and to think about how works that operate on that term’s outskirts gesture in all sorts of divergent ways. Much of our focus will be on works that mobilize hybrid or new forms to capture or express ethnic and gendered identity, particularly various hyphenated American identities (African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic-American, etc.), or to capture the fluctuating nature of ethnic and gendered identification itself.
Our readings will also include various theoretical statements on poetry, on hybridity, and on experimental writing. It will be great.